This week will be known as a challenge for three boxers from the “Land of Enchantment.” Former Junior Middleweight Champion Austin Trout of Las Cruces hopes to resurrect his career tonight at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino, in Ruidoso, NM. Fidel Maldonado Jr. of Albuquerque will be doing the same at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, MS. While Donald Sanchez, also from Albuquerque, came up short on Thursday night in a courageous effort at the Meridian at Island Gardens, Miami, FL.
When Austin Trout retires from the ring he will be remembered as a world champion along with Johnny Tapia and Bob Foster. Trout had an outstanding amateur career making the Olimpic team as an alternate in 2004. Turning pro in 2005, Trout captured the vacant World Boxing Association World Super Welter Title in 2011. He would defend the title four times including a unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto in Madison Square Garden in New York City. This was probably the biggest win of his career. In his next fight, he would suffer his first defeat at the hands of Saul Alvarez. Since that time he has had some decent paydays in compiling a record of 5 wins, 4 losses, and 1 draw. Last year he struggled to a lackluster draw against Terrell Gausha in his only fight of 2019. As a result, he is no longer viewed as a major player in the Junior Middleweight ranks.
Tonight’s card will be sponsored by Impact Network with Teresa Tapia (widow of Johnny Tapia) as the promoter. The plan is for Trout to fight up to four times in 2020, once again making him relevant in the world rankings. Trout with a record of (31-5-1, 17 KO’s) will be facing Rosbel Montoya (17-9-1, 13 KO’s) of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. This should be a safe fight for Trout as his opponent has lost seven of his last eight fights, with six coming by knockout. He’ll need to face stiffer competition than Montoya if he hopes to be a player at the national level. A slick boxer, Trout always enters the ring in excellent shape and speaks well in post-fight interviews. If he can turn his career around, it will add excitement to the local boxing scene. Trout’s fight can be seen on Direct TV channel 380.
When Fidel Maldonado, Jr. enters the ring tonight it will be with three wins in a row. Last year Maldonado went back to the drawing boards for the purpose of implementing a better style of fighting. In the past, his reckless, defense be damned approach to boxing, has cost him dearly. The new and improved Maldonado still has his one-punch knockout power but will be patient, setting up his punches and not getting into toe-to-toe exchanges. Unlike Trout, Maldonado is facing a dangerous opponent who is probably the favorite entering the ring.
Maldonado’s bout will be the co-feature contest of the evening. Maldonado (27-4-1, 20 KO’s) against Michel Rivera (17-0-0, 11 KO’s) of Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic for the vacant World Boxing Council Continental Americans Light Title. Rivera’s last six opponents have had solid records, so he hasn’t built his reputation against dead bodies. Clearly, this young man can both box and punch. The first time he cracks Maldonado with a solid punch to the jaw, will “The Atrisco Kid” go crazy as he has done in the past? Maldonado addressed this problem“I’m not going nuts if I get hit with a big punch, I’ll be patient and let my head clear before going on the attack.” Maldonado is talking the talk, but the question is can he walk the walk? If he can answer that question tonight when the bell rings, Maldonado will make waves in the lightweight division. Maldonado’s fight can be seen on Direct TV channel 219.
On Thursday Donald Sanchez (5-3-0, 3 KO’s) Traveled to Miami, Fl to face undefeated prospect Austin Williams (5-0-0, 4 KO’s) in a career-defining fight. Williams is no stranger to Albuquerque fans having won the Western Regional trials here in 2017. It was not Donald’s night from the opening bell. Williams, a southpaw, repeatedly trapped Sanchez in the corner behind strong right jabs and blistering overhand lefts. In the second round, Sanchez was dropped from a left to the head. Williams than went in for the finish and Sanchez responded with a right uppercut that scored. In the third round Williams worked from a distance to maintain the pressure. In the fourth Williams dropped Sanchez twice more, prompting the referee to halt the contest at 2:51 of the round. Sanchez has nothing to feel bad about as he gave a good effort and received praise from the ringside commentators. Now it’s back to the drawing boards.